Why I Bought It: Nomos Ahoi Ref. 552 – It’s Both Relatively Affordable And Very Versatile

Sometimes the right watch has a way of finding you instead of the other way around. And that happened to me last year:  I had one of my watches up for sale and then decided I would also be open for a trade, so I listed five brands I was interested in. One of them was Nomos.

I am still very fond of my Nomos Minimatik Ref.1203. I fell in love with it when the brand introduced this model many years ago in Baselworld and was able to pick my own a couple of years later at the manufacture in Glashütte, Germany. I have been fond of it ever since and wouldn’t mind owning another one. That opportunity came rather quickly as just a day after I posted my ad, a nice gentleman from Germany contacted me, politely asking if I might be interested in a Nomos Ahoi Ref.552.

Nomos Ahoi Ref. 552

A vacation watch

I hadn’t thought of the Ahoi when I wrote my ad, but as I thought about it, it was as if a missing puzzle piece had fallen into place. I was about to go on a summer vacation and selecting the right watch to take is always difficult for me. I don’t like to travel with more than one watch, so I need one that can do it all i.e., swim in the ocean, visit museums, and go to nice restaurants. The watch also should have a sense of refinement, but (for safety reasons) not ooze being exclusive and expensive.

A mechanical movement is mandatory and preferably no date: I don’t want to be reminded how many days I have left on my vacation. That’s quite a list of requirements and I usually go with a nice diver’s watch. However, when I saw the images of the Nomos Ahoi sent to me by the German gentleman, I thought it was an ideal travel companion. A deal was struck, and the Ahoi joined my Minimatik.

Nomos Ahoi Ref. 552

What is not to love?

I had seen the Ahoi before, but usually during a press meeting, meaning you have it in your hand for a few minutes and then move on to another model. Owning it is a different experience. The very first hours wearing a new watch usually determine its fate: will it remain in my collection or will it go? The Ahoi immediately ticked all the boxes. With a diameter of 40.3 mm it is largish but not overly so. The screw-down crown is protected by a neat crown guard that’s in harmony with the slender lugs. These lugs also make the watch wear slightly larger than its diameter indicates. The fact that, like many Nomos watches, the Ahoi is all dial also makes it look larger than it is.

Nomos Ahoi Ref. 552

The dark color of the dial makes it look understated and discreet. It has a beautiful matte charcoal finish on which the beige markers and numerals stand out. They also match the gold tone of the slender hands. This is really Nomos at its best because it’s a competent sports watch with distinct dress watch qualities. The most striking detail to me is the fluorescent red/orange hand of the sub-seconds. Like that perfect espresso after a sumptuous meal, the bright color is just what is needed and brings the Ahoi to an even higher tier of pleasing aesthetics. It also keeps the watch from being too serious, adding a dash of playfulness that suits it very well. 

It moves me

I am a big fan of Nomos movements, as they are always made with care and dedication, well finished, and don’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy or maintain. Caliber DUW 5001 is made in the brand’s manufacture in Glashütte and has all the treats that make any watch connoisseur’s mouth water. With a height of only 4.3 mm it is pleasantly slender. It features the famous Glashütte three-quarter plate, stop-seconds mechanism, bidirectional winding oscillating weight, and a tempered blue balance spring. The screws have a similar blued treatment and go very nicely with the Glashütte ribbing and Nomos perlage decorations, as does the ratchet and duplex wheel featuring a Glashütte sunburst. It can all be admired through the sapphire insert in the caseback, which is secured by six screws contributing to an impressive water resistance of 200 meters.

Nomos Caliber DUW 5001 movement visible through the display caseback of the Ahoi Ref. 552

The only thing I might fault is the relatively low power reserve of 43 hours. However, as the Ahoi winds automatically very efficiently on the wrist, that hasn’t bothered me, although a longer power reserve would give it even more competitive specifications. 

Me and Nomos straps

As much as I am a fan of Nomos watches, I have yet to fall in love with their straps. While the Horween leather strap on my Minimatik is very nicely made, I never enjoyed wearing it, so I replaced it with something else. The same with the Ahoi. To me, the watch is way too high-end to be worn with the standard woven textile strap. It may look sporty, but it didn’t sit comfortably on my wrist and I thought I could do better.

Ace Jewelers strap and buckle

I still had an amazing textured strap made of wood by Ace Jewelers in Amsterdam that both offered the desired wearing comfort and elevated the look of the Nomos to my taste.

Nomos Ahoi Ref. 552

What was initially intended to be a vacation watch is now firmly in my regular rotation. But that’s what happens when a watch chooses you.

For more information, please visit https://nomos-glashuette.com/en/ahoi/ 

Quick Facts Nomos Glashütte Ahoi Ref.552
Case: 40.3 x 10.6 mm, stainless steel, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Movement: automatic in-house Caliber DUW 5001, 43-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, Glashütte three-quarter plate, Swing System escapement
Functions: hours, minutes, small hacking seconds
Price: $4,060/€3,060 (retail price in 2020, not part of current collection anymore)

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Nomos Glashütte Lambda In Stainless Steel: Celebrating 175 Years Of Fine Watchmaking In Glashütte

Nomos Glashütte Ahoi Atlantik: Setting Sail As A Great Summer Watch






5 replies
  1. Mehul Trivedi
    Mehul Trivedi says:

    Great read! I have the same watch and love the dark blue of the face. I also am not a fan of the strap that came with it. Are you able to share a link for the strap you found at ACE jewlers? I didn’t see an option for straps. Thanks

    • Martin Green
      Martin Green says:

      Hi Mehul,

      Thanks for your comments! I don’t know if ACE still carries the strap, but if you email them I am sure that they can help you!

  2. Steven
    Steven says:

    This sounds like a fantastic watch watch from a great company but $4k and only a 3hz movement? That seems a bit on the low side for that price point to me

    • Ian Skellern
      Ian Skellern says:

      Hi Steven, balance frequency has nothing to do with price or quality. Modern movements tend to have faster frequencies because they mass produced and do not require as much regulation.

      Greuble Forsey’s movements, which are extremely high quality (and very expensive) usually beat at 3 Hz, Kari Voutilainen’s superb movements are usually beating at a sedate 2.5 Hz.

      Regards, Ian


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